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Marijuana Affects Brain Cells

answered 07:46 AM EST, Mon April 16, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
I quit smoking marijuana 9 days ago. I had been a long time heavy user but decided to quit because my wife is now pregnant and it was time to get serious about my life and get prepared for being a father and not a kid anymore.

I have had this kind of stoner short term memory loss going on for a long time but I always thought it was just because I was high every day. But now that I have not smoked for more than a week my memory does not seem to be getting any better. Does marijuana cause permanent memory loss? I smoked a lot every day for almost 10 years. I am worried about this because I expected to be feeling a little sharper by now. I have blamed the weed for a long time for my brain lapses and I am scared now that it’s not just the weed but that I might have actual brain damage.

Dr. Karl Benzio Says...

Congratulations on quitting marijuana. You have given a great gift to your wife and to your child. Most of all, you have given a gift to your BRAIN, and a lot of people, mainly you, will benefit from that. 

You are correct, marijuana does have many short term effects on our brain circuitry. Impacts on concentration, focus, memory, attention span, motivation, recall, and mood are usually felt, and less often, anxiety and paranoia or hallucinations can occur. These less frequent effects often occur more frequently with the increased strength of the marijuana that is out on the streets now. 

What most people don't know about or consider is the longer term effects of marijuana on the brain cells. All the areas mentioned above are also impacted long term as well. Sometimes it is permanent damage, but God has given us a pretty resilient brain. Allowing your brain to clear out of marijuana (it stays in your blood for 2-4 weeks, and in your hair for 90 days) will take about 6-9months, then your circuits should start to repair. Your functioning in all areas will continue to improve, but will take awhile for you to notice because the marijuana isnt even out of your system yet. 

In some cases, prolonged use does cause permanent damage. Worst case scenario, if that happens to you, again, God has given our brains an ability to develop new circuitry and brain cells to take up the slack for ones that are severly injured or killed. The way this happens is by being a good decision-maker, and the circuits you use to do that will get stronger, grow, and will positively influence the growth of other circuits.

Hope this helps and you continue on this path. Your brain is your most valuable and influential possession you have and you control whether it gets stronger through good nutrition, sleep, and decision making, or whether you will damage it with toxins and poor decision making. Life is your choice, so choose well and prosper!

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Page last updated Apr 16, 2012

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